A Kelowna restaurant owner is speaking out after a customer refused to follow COVID-19 guidelines, and caused a stir online.
The owner insists this is not an isolated incident, and occurs daily at restaurants around the region.
Christina Skinner, owner of Frankie We Salute You! vegetarian restaurant in Kelowna, explained that on Jan. 9 a customer arrived at her store without a face covering. The customer was offered a mask, and her information was taken down for contract tracing purposes. The customer then began to yell at a staff member, citing COVID-19 conspiracies, refused to wear the mask, and demanded her contact tracing information be removed.
A video posted online by the customer shows Skinner stepping in in an attempt to de-escalate the situation. Skinner is shown scratching the woman’s name out on the contact tracing list, followed by her asking the woman to leave.
“As she was leaving she screamed that she hoped I die of COVID, and that our business fails,” said Skinner.
Since then the video has gained traction online, but has since been removed.
The owner has spoken to police about the incident, and said she was told if anything like this happens again, to call 911 right away.
Skinner said this is nothing new. Since mask requirements took effect in B.C. as a part of COVID-19 public health guidelines, she said countless customers have lashed out at her staff.
“People have been so awful to my staff. It’s been really hard as an owner and general manager to see, especially when my team is so young, fresh, and hopeful.”
While she fully supports guidelines set in place by the province, Skinner believes restaurants have been singled out with more mandatory rules than other industries.
Skinner said small businesses in the city are at risk of closing for good “if people are allowed to bully owners and small businesses over something that isn’t even their choice.
She hopes society stops blaming restaurants for enforcing rules that may go against their personal beliefs.
“I’m a firm advocate in freedom of speech, and people have every right to disagree on public health policy and what they should do with their bodies. But it shouldn’t be at the expense of individuals who feel differently, and small businesses that are just trying to survive.
“In an ideal society, we need to rise above our own personal beliefs, and just understand, and be empathetic,” Skinner said.
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